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A working Dad’s perspective on work-life balance at Deloitte

Former tax lawyer Michael Munoz finds personal and professional fulfilment

Michael Munoz was on the partnership track at a major Calgary law firm when he took a step back and decided it wasn’t what he wanted. Although he worked with incredibly driven and talented professionals on interesting tax files, the exhilaration of a fast-paced environment wasn’t enough to offset the exhaustion of regularly being in the office until 3 am. He was looking for balance. And he found it at Deloitte – but not before testing the waters at two other organizations.

Having a personal life shouldn’t mean sacrificing professional opportunities
Munoz originally left his law career for one of Deloitte’s Big Four peers. Although the hours were more reasonable, his work lacked the intrigue and challenge of the files he’d been accustomed to. So within six months, he made another move he hoped would take him closer to the middle of the work-life continuum. He returned to practising law with a different law firm – and made work-life balance one of his terms of employment.

Two years later, Munoz found that he’d had to sacrifice his career development to have a life. It was a turning point that brought him to Deloitte.

Now a father, Munoz knew he didn’t want to compromise his family commitments for a successful legal career. But at the same time, he recognized that his stagnating career was affecting him. After talking to several peers and investigating his options, he decided to take a fresh look at the Big Four. This time, he chose Deloitte.

Beyond tax law: Broadening overall business skills
“I didn’t want to give up what I’d achieved professionally to attain work-life balance,” says Munoz, a senior manager who joined Deloitte in 2007. “I also wanted to open long-term doors by broadening my skill set. Here, my job isn’t just about reading the Income Tax Act and structuring; it’s also about incorporating those tax plans into a client’s business – from individual transactions to day-to-day operations.”

“I want to learn skills I wouldn’t have been called upon to use as a tax lawyer, to become a professional with a broad skill set who can appreciate the implications of tax advice on all aspects of a client’s business,” he continues. To enhance his development, Munoz began pursuing his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation part-time through Alberta-based Athabasca University shortly after joining Deloitte.

Defining balance: Personal boundaries with professional choices
From day one, Munoz has found the environment at Deloitte highly supportive of balance – providing equal opportunities to talented professionals, regardless of whether they’re on flexible work arrangements, are working parents, have hobbies outside of the office, or simply want to have time to relax and enjoy life.

“In many places, work-life balance is misconstrued as not wanting to work too hard,” says Munoz. “If you make it known that you value work-life balance, it’s perceived that you aren’t committed to your career. At Deloitte, I’ve found you’re not considered a lesser worker just because you’d like to leave the office at a reasonable time. Deloitte includes you as a meaningful participant in challenging files, but they also respect personal boundaries. I truly feel we have a culture that allows you to develop a fulfilling career, but also allows you to give appropriate time and attention to family and other pursuits. The term ‘work-life balance’ really is about having both.”

At Deloitte, Munoz feels like he’s finally in control of his future. He’s engaged and satisfied professionally by his mergers and acquisitions work. He can sit down to dinner with his family and be there to tuck his daughter into bed at night. And he has time to play in hockey and flag football leagues, or just sit back and enjoy life at home.

“You can personalize your long-term career at Deloitte,” he says. “You can seek to become a partner or associate partner, or you can be a career senior manager, and not feel pressured to become a partner. Here, you choose how far you go, and at what pace.”

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